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  1. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The good news is that thousands of people drive from coast to coast every day of the year, including in winter, and including across the northern tier of the country.

    The other good news is that you are being given plenty of time, and in winter travel, time is more important than anything else. At 400 miles a day, you're being given 7 or 8 days for this drive? We recommend limiting yourself to 500-600 miles a day - which means you've got 2 or 3 extra days to work with, and 2 or 3 days where you can stop and wait out a storm if need be. That is more than enough in nearly all cases.

    The bad news is that no one can tell you what the weather and road conditions might be 2 weeks from now. All you can do is keep an eye on the forecasts and stay flexible, both to avoid a storm if one is in the forecast and to pull off and wait if conditions do deteriorate.

    I will say the generic advice many people will give of "go south" is actually pretty horrible advice as all it does is adds time to your travels, reduces the extra time you have if you need to wait out a storm, and provides very little protection from winter weather (as the current problems in Texas should be a good reminder of). Going south also means places that are less ready to deal with snow if they get it, and often can get ice storms instead of snowstorms, and I'll take driving in snow over ice any day of the week. The general routes you should be looking at for this trip are either ones based on I-80 and I-90 - with the more northern I-90 actually often being preferred across the Rockies, due to easier travel through Montana vs. the High Plains of Wyoming.

    I will also say that I would not necessarily recommend renting a 4WD vehicle, especially if you aren't already comfortable driving in snow. When traveling in winter weather on the interstates, the most important thing is the ability to stop - and 4WD does nothing to help you in that regard. Instead, it often gives people a false sense of confidence which can lead to crashes. 4WD is very helpful if you're in a spot that's just got several new inches of snow, and the plows haven't been out on the road yet - but when talking about long distance travel, the better answer is to simply stay put until the plows have gone through, especially since the Interstates are usually the first roads to be cleared during and after a storm.
    Thank you so much. Up until this point I underestimated the power of knowing how to stop vs relying on 4WD or AWD as a feature of enhanced protection. My admiration for the pros on the road doing this daily is now ever more evident. I never drove across the states, not at least to such great lengths so I was and still am very concerned, especially for the safety of my family. But, thanks to everyone's insight I feel slightly more confident knowing the drive is doable and it could be done safely. Thanks again sir.

  2. Default

    Although you are not so good with technology, I highly recommend that you download the free app called iExit. I’ve found it to be very helpful even on short trips.

    You select your state, highway and direction. You can then scroll through a list of every exit, including rest areas. I find THAT very helpful.

    Select an exit and you will see a sorted list of gas stations, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and other places of interest. Sometimes a special hotel rate will appear. I believe this app is sponsored by one of the free travel booklets you get at the rest areas.

    I also find it helpful to have a travel app such as WAZE. They can sometimes reroute you around accidents, construction etc. If not, they can at least show you how far ahead the congestion continues. KNOWING you have a three mile backup is much less trying on the nerves than NOT knowing! Also, pack an “emergency” snack box to be opened only during such delays. Some snacks, a bottle of water and maybe a tuna lunch kit will make such delays much more bearable.

    And whatever you drive, make sure you have a good set of all weather tires.

    Have a safe trip.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Your Route Options

    Let's just run down the two best all-Interstate options you have. BTW, I used Groton as your starting point.

    1) Shortest: I-95 to Rye NY, I-287 around NYC, I-80 through PA and OH where it merges with I-90, and I-90 the rest of the way. You can, of course use options like staying on I-80 just past Chicago and then I-39 north to rejoin I-90. That route is roughly 2,960 mi. (city center to city center).

    2) glc's route: As listed I-84/I-81/I-80/I-76/I-71/I-70/I-74/I-80/I-29/I-90 (with bypasses). That comes in at 3,100 mi., but saves a lot on tolls, certainly more than you'd spend on gas for the extra 150 mi. or so, and while CT-9 from Groton to Hartford is technically not an Interstate, it is of Interstate quality.

    If you're starting from New Haven (DLA) or Waterbury (ACE) you'll have to make slight adjustments to your initial route, but the object is to get around NYC as easily as possible and then onto I-80 ASAP. The basics of the main portion would still be the same. Given a choice, I'd probably go with glc's route which is only a bit longer and does avoid some major cities and the attendant tolls.

    Oh, and BTW, there are very nice 'rest areas' all along whatever route you choose.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-18-2021 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Route Correction

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,086

    Default

    If you are in fact from Groton, avoid Hartford by taking CT-9 to Middletown, then CT-66 to I-691 to I-84 if you are taking my route.

  5. #15

    Default

    Even though this is a road tripping forum, I also ride the rails when it makes sense. If the Army is willing, I would explore options for a family type room on Amtrak from Hartford to Seattle. All meals are included (at least on the D.C. to Chicago and Chicago to Seattle legs) and would likely be delivered to your room. So ma ny things would be simplified.

  6. Default

    Thank you. Never heard of that app but it sounds like a very useful tool for the tool box. Is amazing how far we have come with technology...I could only imagine the arduous task of having to map and trace your interstate trip using hardcopy maps. Although coming to think of it is a skill that if mastered could be a life saver. Love the tuna suggestion 😋

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Let's just run down the two best all-Interstate options you have. BTW, I used Groton as your starting point.

    1) Shortest: I-95 to Rye NY, I-287 around NYC, I-80 through PA and OH where it merges with I-90, and I-90 the rest of the way. You can, of course use options like staying on I-80 just past Chicago and then I-39 north to rejoin I-90. That route is roughly 2,960 mi. (city center to city center).

    2) glc's route: As listed I-84/I-81/I-80/I-76/I-71/I-70/I-74/I-80/I-29/I-90 (with bypasses). That comes in at 3,100 mi., but saves a lot on tolls, certainly more than you'd spend on gas for the extra 150 mi. or so, and while CT-9 from Groton to Hartford is technically not an Interstate, it is of Interstate quality.

    If you're starting from New Haven (DLA) or Waterbury (ACE) you'll have to make slight adjustments to your initial route, but the object is to get around NYC as easily as possible and then onto I-80 ASAP. The basics of the main portion would still be the same. Given a choice, I'd probably go with glc's route which is only a bit longer and does avoid some major cities and the attendant tolls.

    Oh, and BTW, there are very nice 'rest areas' all along whatever route you choose.

    AZBuck

    Thank you for that detailed explanation. I cannot thank you enough. This has got to be the most help I've ever had in my life. I'm thankful for there are still people who not only take their passion for the road seriously but are also very supportive in sharing it with others. 🙏🏽

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by landmariner View Post
    Even though this is a road tripping forum, I also ride the rails when it makes sense. If the Army is willing, I would explore options for a family type room on Amtrak from Hartford to Seattle. All meals are included (at least on the D.C. to Chicago and Chicago to Seattle legs) and would likely be delivered to your room. So ma ny things would be simplified.
    I have to say this made me chuckle and actually laugh out loud. One advantage of your suggestion is that you don't have to be a low key ferroequinologist to cross our country, just hop on and off you go. If it were just my wife and I we would definitely take this drive whether ( no pun intended) it'd be in winter, spring, summer or fall... heck now with all this Information I'm curious and excited to drive it one day. But, given the fact that we have a baby something tells me is just easier to pay a little more and focus on making sure everyone is stress free, at least from driving in the winter through these otherwise beautiful roads. Thanks for your Input.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    392

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hceballos View Post
    Thank you. Never heard of that app but it sounds like a very useful tool for the tool box. Is amazing how far we have come with technology...I could only imagine the arduous task of having to map and trace your interstate trip using hardcopy maps. Although coming to think of it is a skill that if mastered could be a life saver. Love the tuna suggestion ��
    Kids these days....... Rand McNally Road Atlas and hard copy maps are still my favorite.
    And they always work, regardless of cell service.

    The hilighter that I applied to the pages of my paper maps tracing my cross-country motorcycle trip in 1983 (post-Navy service celebration trip) is still legible. Try THAT with your fancy computer files......

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,610

    Default

    I am also one to prefer paper maps and guides. Technology is only as good as its weakest link. Too many times, a GPS will lead you down the wrong path. You DO have to use common sense when deciding to rely on a GPS. A paper map, paired with some common sense and road signs, should lead you on.

    As far as iExit, etc., I prefer a book called "The Next Exit". It gives the same information, probably more detailed than the electronic version, and I can look ahead a whole lot easier than on my phone.

    The only apps I really, really like when we travel, are TripAdvisor, and GasBuddy. The latter helps me find out what the gas/fuel prices are in various places, so we can plan fuel stops to take advantage of "better deals". Still, we've been known to see a sign at an exit and immediately get off, though we hadn't planned on fuel there, if the price was better. TripAdvisor is good for both lodging reviews/prices, and food reviews/prices. For reviews - if one person had a bad experience and the rest of the reviews were good, we go.


    Donna

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